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Transfer Students Join SC Community

Josh Ernst

Opinions Editor

Every fall, Springfield Col­lege’s incoming students all gather for four days of New Student Orientation where they get a chance to meet their peers and classmates, get a taste of college life and get acclimated to campus before classes start. But every January, there is an­other, shorter orientation for a different group of students: second-semester transfer stu­dents.

This year, Springfield Col­lege welcomed 25 transfers for the second semester. These students have a different ex­perience than many other stu­dents. Although they are new to Springfield College, they all have had experience at a differ­ent institution.

Among these transfer stu­dents was Dale DeCouto. The sophomore is at his third school and decided on Springfield Col­lege for a variety of reasons.

“I transferred from Bristol Community College in Fall River, Mass. last semester and I was at Limestone College in South Carolina my freshman year, so this is the second time I’ve transferred,” said DeCou­to. “I came to Springfield be­cause they have one of the best physical education programs in the country. I also came here to run track, and they have an im­pressive indoor track facility.”

Students who transfer in the second semester in par­ticular face a unique challenge. Students who transfer in the spring go through NSO with all other incoming students and benefit from the four days of orientation. Second-semes­ter transfers have a slightly dif­ferent experience.

“In the fall, there’s a sepa­rate transfer component where I think they’re really sensitive to the needs of a transfer stu­dent,” said Anne Goodeve, the Springfield College Transfer Coordinator. “I think the fall transfer program is incred­ible; it gives them the oppor­tunity to bond with peers and other transfers and also discuss some issues that are relevant to transfers specifically. January, it’s a little bit more condensed. It’s just one day.”

While the January Orien­tation program is much more condensed, this year’s program ran very smoothly. The pro­gram essentially ran for one night and a day and was de­signed to get the transfer stu­dents acclimated and comfort­able with campus, each other and campus leaders.

“The transfer students gather with the NSO leaders and become acquainted with one another at dinner,” said NSO Head Women’s Leader Katie Belleau. “The transfer students were then greeted by Keith Moore and Tarome Al­ford and a number of RAs in the Alumni Foyer. This allows the students to meet a number of student leaders on campus before the semester begins. Af­ter a brief overview of living on campus and the Springfield College community, the trans­fers were asked if they would enjoy watching a movie to­gether. The overall consensus was to sit in the Alumni Foyer and simply talk. The NSO lead­ers allowed any questions to be asked about the college anony­mously.”

DeCouto found the orien­tation a little overwhelming but overall helpful in settling down.

“Orientation was a bit of an information overload,” said DeCouto. “It basically took up the entire day and it was the day before classes started. I hadn’t even got settled into my room yet and I had to get dragged around for 12 hours. But it was helpful that signing up for classes and getting my student ID was part of the ori­entation.”

Second-semester transfer students face a different chal­lenge than most students, even other transfers: they move onto a campus where everyone is al­ready acclimated. They do not have a large freshman class that is in the same position they are.

“The hardest part of trans­ferring is just getting adjusted to a new environment,” said DeCouto. “Everyone else had spent at least a term here, so it’s difficult being the one new guy that doesn’t know anybody or know anything about the campus.”

Orientation is designed to help transfers overcome this challenge and by placing trans­fers with roommates who have been on campus for at least a year, these second-semester transfers will hopefully feel comfortable in a short amount of time.

Most transfers fall into two camps according to Goodeve. The first are students who were unhappy with the experi­ence at a former institution and choose to look elsewhere.

“The other type that I think we see a lot more often than ever before because of the economy, is that they’ve actual­ly chosen to do two years some­where else at a community col­lege or a junior college because of cost effectiveness and then they’ve planned to transfer all along,” said Goodeve.

Springfield College has agreements with local com­munity colleges, including Springfield Technical Com­munity College, Holyoke Com­munity College and Greenfield Community College, that allow students to smoothly transi­tion from these institutions to Springfield College. This na­tional trend allows students to start at a much more cost-effec­tive institution and begin work on their degrees before trans­ferring to a four-year institu­tion like Springfield College.

As most students get back to the day to day life of Spring­field College, they should re­member that there are students around them who are dealing not only with classes, home­work and practice but adjust­ing to a new school. Thankfully, according to DeCouto, Spring­field College students are mak­ing his transition easier.

“So far, I like it at Spring­field. Everyone here is nice and all of my teachers have been good,” said DeCouto. “And the food is much better than my previous colleges.”

Josh Ernst may be reached at

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